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June 22: wattleseed pancakes

2016/06/22 deej 0

Of the many species of wattle native to Australia, several produce seeds which are suitable for use as human food. Edible wattleseed has rich nutty, chocolate and roasted coffee flavours, and is well suited to both sweet and savoury uses.   Australian aboriginal peoples ground dried wattle seeds to form a flour, which was then baked into damper (traditional campfire bread). The green seeds of some wattle species were also eaten, cooked and consumed as a green vegetable like peas or fresh beans. Wattle seeds have also been used as food in some areas in West Africa, where the wattle […]

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June 20: chestnuts – sweet potato on a tree

2016/06/20 deej 0

The chestnut tree (Castanea sativa) is, like the oak tree, typical of parks and woodlands in the UK – although they’re much more widespread than just that. They are still grown commercially in manmy places, with the top producers being China, Turkey, southern Europe, Korea, Bolivia; Australia is a small player in the global market, but we do grow chestnuts here too, mainly for domestic use. Chestnuts are a significant food crop in southern Europe and east Asia, and were widely eaten in the past by the indigenous peoples of North America.   The relationship between humans and chestnuts dates back […]

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June 17: carob is not chocolate

2016/06/17 deej 0

Many people know carob only as a chocolate substitute, but the truth is that carob does not taste like chocolate. The raw, dry pods have a rich, caramel flavour a little like a date; roasting the carob pods gives them a darker, nuttier character. Both raw and roasted, carob pods have been used as a sweetener and basic foodstuff for thousands of years.   The cultivation of the carob tree (Ceratonia siliqua) is mentioned in ancient texts, dating back to Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt. It was grown in the Middle East, North Africa and the Mediterranean. Carob thrives in these […]

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June 16: alternative staple crops – pine nuts

2016/06/16 deej 0

Pine nuts are the edible seeds of several species of pine tree. The main species of pines used for pine nut production are the stone pine (Pinus pinea), Korean pine (Pinus koraiensis), chilgoza pine (Pinus gerardiana), and the North American pinyon pines, including the Colorado pinyon (Pinus edulis), single-leaf pinyon (Pinus monophylla), and Mexican pinyon (Pinus cembroides). We have 5 seeds (Pinus pinea) in pots, having stratified them in the fridge for the requisite 5 weeks (until they began to germinate) then planted them out into tree tubes; No sign yet of green shoots, but I’m still hopeful that spring […]

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June 15: staple crops

2016/06/15 deej 0

A staple crop is one that provides the majority of a population’s diet, generally providing primarily starch and/or protein. Our current primary staple crops worldwide are corn (maize), wheat, and rice. There are also other staple crops or potential staple crops (crops with the capacity to provide the majority of a population’s diet) grown – barley, rye, oats, teff, sorghum (milo), millet, soybeans and other legumes (beans, chickpeas, lentils, ..), quinoa, amaranth, potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, oca, cassava, arrowroot, plantains and sago (derived from the pith of the sago palm). There are probably others, but those are some of the more common ones. Do […]